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As Executive Director, Kari ensures Ignite’s core work advances the organization’s mission, builds strategic partnerships, and support our Board of Directors. Please contact Kari with any press or media inquiries.
Kari joined Ignite Afterschool in 2013 to help build a strong, united voice for afterschool throughout Minnesota. Before joining Ignite, Kari spent seven years at the City of Saint Paul advancing Mayor Chris Coleman’s bold educational vision, and also as director of Sprockets, the city’s afterschool network. Kari has nearly 20 years of experience as youth worker, youth program manager and community organizer. A contributor to numerous whitepapers and a frequent presenter at industry conferences, Kari studied youth policy and public and nonprofit management at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and was trained at the Organizing Apprenticeship Project and the National Training and Information Center.
Keem is a dedicated, creative, and highly qualified youth development professional. He has over 10 years of experience working in the youth development field within both community and education-based settings. Keem has demonstrated expertise in leading, coaching, supervising, and working collaboratively with professional staff and youth. With a strong passion for high quality youth programs, Keem has developed a passion and love for training staff, and became an expert in building capacity in youth work professionals. He is accepting of all populations of diverse cultural, linguistic, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and has strong interpersonal, oral, written, and public presentation skills. Keem is driven by new challenges, is a lifelong learner, and is a student of the Ella Baker philosophy of servant leadership and supporting others.
As the Strategy Manager for Continuous Improvement, Sarah leads Ignite's M3 Continuous Program Improvement cycle and Continuous Improvement Coordinating Council. Sarah joined Ignite Afterschool in 2020. Her background includes working in direct care positions in children and adult mental health and she completed her Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota in 2021.
Zong has an extensive background of over 10 years in both education and youth work in the Twin Cities. As a first generation college student, Zong attended Concordia University in St. Paul and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education and minor in Special Education. Her passion focuses on social justice, education, and community organizing. She believes every child deserves equitable access to education, afterschool programming and healthy living which will allow them to choose their pathway in life. Networking and community organizing provides her opportunities to leverage resources and uplift communities. Prior to Ignite Afterschool and SPROCKETS, Zong has been engaged with the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, SPROCKETS, St. Paul Public Schools, as well as other community-based and grass-roots initiatives.
Angel has been a youth work professional since 2004, directing programs in mental health, school-based, and community-based settings. She is currently the Director of Programs for the Duluth Community School Collaborative, a nonprofit intermediary and OST program provider in partnership with Duluth Public Schools. Angel has a BA in Studio Arts with an emphasis in Women's Studies from the College of St. Catherine. She has earned several youth work action research fellowships, authored an article for the Journal of Youth Development, and contributed to the Hubert Project E-Study, A Youth Work Lens on Human Development. Angel has served on the board of directors and the continuous program improvement workgroup at Ignite since 2020. Angel lives in rural Duluth and loves celebrating nature with her partner, their daughter, a fat cat, and five (very unnatural) chickens.
Chris Ganzlin has served as the VP of Girls and Youth Programs at YWCA Minneapolis since 2011. She has more than 20 years of experience in the youth development field and as a public advocate for youth, focusing on non-formal learning and out-of-school-time. Chris previously held the Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Development at the U of MN and came to the YWCA from over two decades at The McKnight Foundation, where she created and shaped the foundation’s commitment to youth development. Chris is active with the Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board Afterschool Network and serves on the Better Together Hennepin Advisory Task Force working to reduce teen pregnancy. She also serves on the Minnesota Pediatric Obesity Care and Coverage Task Force and Steering Committee whose role is to reduce health disparities in children of color in Minnesota, and is on the boards of YouthCARE and now Ignite Afterschool.
Mukund’s professional career over the last 25 years spans global industrial and health care markets requiring interaction with cross-functional, multi-cultural teams. A strong leader with personal initiative and commitment, able to motivate through articulating a vision and executing it through clear communication, team work, organization and planning. Among the organizations he has worked for, including General Motors, Medtronic and 3M Company, Mukund has had positions of responsibility in running businesses, portfolio management and strategic planning. Mukund has served as a volunteer with several Twin Cities organizations and hopes to bring these skills to Ignite Afterschool.
Mukund graduated with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University, New York, followed by a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Natalya (she/her/ella) consistently works to support, guide, and expand opportunities for low-income and BIPOC communities to access and engage with information, education, networks, and resources. Motivated by the institutional barriers that she experienced, Natalya became passionate about out-of-school time support through accessible community education and capacity-building.
Natalya has work experience in government, non-profits, and higher education. Prior to her current role as the Local Program Coordinator with CEED, she was the Coordinator for a culturally specific, college access and mentorship program: Youth in Action (YA!) at CLUES. In an effort to engage her students to connect more deeply with themes and discussions, she redesigned the program's curriculum to follow our ever-changing socio-political contexts.
Natalya holds a bachelor's degree in Philosophy and Political Science from Augsburg University and is a certified ELL teacher.
In her free time, Natalya enjoys creating colorful beaded jewelry, decorating her home with unique second-hand finds, making tea, and spending quality time with her friends, family, and cats.
Tracie Clanaugh has served as a leader in the field of Youth Development since 1990 when she began her career at the Duluth Area Family YMCA. At the YMCA she has served as Youth and Family Program Director, YMCA Camp Miller Director and has most recently serves as Executive Director of the Community Services Branch of the YMCA. In addition to the Duluth YMCA she worked with ten school districts in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan; securing and implementing a 10 district 21st Century Community Learning Center project in 3 counties. Her work as a leader includes extensive staff and volunteer training, collaborative leadership in a number of collaborations that work to serve youth in our community and management of high-quality program that align with the mission of our organization.
Xavier Vazquez (he/him) has a bachelor’s degree in biology with a focus on pre-medicine. He studied mechanical engineering for 4 years at the University of Puerto Rico, but decided to pursue another career and moved to Minnesota in June 17 of 2017 after he obtained his biology degree at the Universidad del Turabo of Puerto Rico. He is always willing to try new things and definitely up for adventures and new challenges. He enjoys playing baseball/softball, running, biking, camping, fishing, drawing, spending time with his family and his furry “daughter” (Cuba) and everything else that piques his adventurous spirit. As the Director of Program Management at Bolder Options he oversees the 1-year long 1:1 program and Alumni Program and goes the extra mile to ensure that the current and alumni pairs get exposed to the most fun and adventurous activities his creative mind can dream up!